Popping for large marine predators

Lure Fishing for Bluefin Tuna & False Albacore


Probably the most challenging and adrenaline-filled fishing technique in the Mediterranean – popping for bluefin tuna in the Italian Adriatic Sea. This technique demands everything from the angler and the fishing gear. Thanks to a strict EU conservation programme, the bluefin tuna population has recovered very well in recent years. At certain times of the year, many schools can be found between central and northern Italy. The ideal fishing trip for adrenaline junkies.
Bluefin Tuna

Fishing technique

This type of fishing is mainly done by sight. Surface activity as well as seagulls give an indication of where the fish are. During the so-called frenzies (feeding frenzy), the tuna circle their prey and chase them through the water. Foam, gulls and jumping tuna can be easily spotted by the angler/skipper and are the perfect recipe for catching a tuna. Once hooked, you can expect an intense stand-up drill.


Especially in spring, small tuna (False Albacores) are also mixed in with the bluefin tuna. These are caught with the same technique, but with lighter gear. They weigh between 6-15kg and are also very strong fighters. Bluefin tuna are mainly caught weighing between 30-50kg. Larger catches between 50-80kg are possible, but are rare on popping. Bluefin tuna is subject to a strict protection programme in the EU, which means that it cannot be keep. Catch and release is the order of the day!

Season and Location

Depending on the season, there are trips from Chioggia, Rimini and Porto San Giorgio. As these fishing trips are very subject to weather conditions, they can only be planned at quite short notice.

  • February-May: with the beginning of spring, the sea creatures are slowly reawakening. Smaller schools of tuna return to hunt. During this period, tuna are mainly found in the northern Adriatic Sea.
  • May-July: the spawning season begins for bluefin tuna, they mostly swim on the seabed and can hardly be seen at the surface. This is the perfect period for False Albacores. Departures from Chioggia and Rimini.
  • August-October: the great tuna migration from the Atlantic moves towards the Adriatic Sea at this time. Huge schools of tuna follow and hunt the baitfish and form massive feeding frenzies at the level of Porto San Giorgio.
  • November-December: as temperatures drop, bluefin tuna migrate back towards the north of the Adriatic where the water temperature is slightly higher. During this time of year, smaller groups of tuna can be found, which swim closer to shore.

Recommended Fishing Gear

  • Popping: Rods with casting between 40-130g (PE5-PE8) | High Quality Reels, size between 14000 and 18000 (Shimano Size) | Line PE5-PE8 | Leader 100 lbs-130lbs Nylon Shock Leader | Lures  Soft Lures, Stickbaits & Popper
  • Setup for False Albacore: Rods with casting between 20-80g (PE2-PE3) | Reel between 5000 and 6000 size (Shimano Size) | Line PE2-PE3 | Leader 40lbs-50lbs Fluorocarbon | Lures Soft Lures & Stickbaits
Tuna Popping Setup

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